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posted by janrinok on Saturday June 07 2014, @05:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the food-for-thought dept.

A huge nationwide push is underway, funded by the nonprofit Code.org's corporate and billionaire donors, from Amazon and Google to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, to introduce American schoolchildren to coding and to redefine it as a basic skill to be learned alongside the three R's.

Code.org's curriculum has been adopted by 20,000 teachers from kindergarten to 12th grade. But if coding is the new lingua franca, literacy rates for girls are dropping: Last year, girls made up 18.5 percent of A.P. computer science test-takers nationwide, a slight decrease from the year before. In three states, no girls took the test at all. An abysmal 0.4 percent of girls entering college intend to major in computer science [PDF]. And in 2013, women made up 14 percent of all computer science graduates down from 36 percent in 1984. The imbalance persists in the tech industry. Just this week, Google released data showing that women account for just 17 percent of its tech employees.

The problem is not only getting girls to computer class, but keeping them there.

See also girlswhocode.com.

 
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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bradley13 on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:54PM

    by bradley13 (3053) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:54PM (#52701) Homepage Journal

    How to get girls into coding

    I've been teaching computer science, off and on, for more than 30 years now. I have women in my classes, sometimes more and sometimes less. I have never - and I do mean *never* - seen any evidence of discrimination against women by the schools, by teachers or by other students.

    I have, however, seen good women discouraged by one specific thing: efforts to get more women into computer science by any means possible. Take a woman who is genuinely talented, put her in a class where incompetent women have been admitted by a quota system and the school doesn't dare fail them. You know what the competent woman worries about? She worries that future employers will see her as a token woman, lacking skills, passed only because of her gender. The very existence of these programs calls her competence into question.

    Just stop. Gender (or, for that matter, race) specific programs are detrimental to their supposed goals. Simply treat everyone as an individual. If they're interested in programming, and good at it, that's great. Externalities are completely irrelevant, and should simply be ignored.

    I know, I know, I am naive...

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
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  • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:58PM

    by bradley13 (3053) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:58PM (#52709) Homepage Journal

    I missed this lovely line: "And in 2013, women made up 14 percent of all computer science graduates down from 36 percent in 1984."

    I assert that this is precisely because of all the attention given to getting women into computer science. This first became a big issue in the 1980s, with the advent of the PC - before that there just weren't enough programmers for anyone to care. As stated in my earlier post, programs aimed at specific genders or races are simply counterproductive.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 1) by migz on Saturday June 07 2014, @10:35PM

      by migz (1807) on Saturday June 07 2014, @10:35PM (#52780)

      1. When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.
      2. Woman are too smart to put up with the abuse in IT. We are abused by management, out clients, and our peers. Men don't know when to run from an abusive relationship. Yes, 80 hour weeks, 36 hour days, and then getting shat on for not clocking in at 08:00 the next day (a freaking disciplinary hearing - that I LOST!!!???) is abuse. And that was just my first job ...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10 2014, @12:17AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10 2014, @12:17AM (#53485)

        2. Woman are too smart to put up with the abuse in IT. We are abused by management, out clients, and our peers. Men don't know when to run from an abusive relationship. Yes, 80 hour weeks, 36 hour days, and then getting shat on for not clocking in at 08:00 the next day (a freaking disciplinary hearing - that I LOST!!!???) is abuse. And that was just my first job ...

        Here's my first job as a software consultant:
          - Overtime is strictly prohibited without prior approval. Worked an extra two hours yesterday? You better go home early today.
          - Working the normal 9-5 shift? You'd better be in the office somewhere between 7am and noon. Or at least give your manager a call before then.
          - Weekend shifts occasionally required. You'll get your day off during the week instead, and feel free to watch TV or maybe even play some Call of Duty if you're not too busy.
          - Boss catches you shopping on Amazon.com during the work day? Prepare for a five minute discussion about what you're buying and whether or not the boss likes that particular style.
          - And my salary? I'm putting a third of my take-home pay into savings, but my checking account just keeps on growing too...plus medical, dental, vision, and a 401(k).

        The worst part of my job is when I run out of articles to read here and get bored!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:49AM (#52822)

      You should realize that your argument is the functional equivalent of saying that black people were happier being slaves, that the problem isn't the system, its all the rabble-rousing getting people worked up. I think the reason you've never seen any discriminatory behavior on all your time teaching comp sci is because you aren't an unbiased observer. Its like how none of the people working on wall street think anything that might be wrong with modern finance is solely the fault of government regulation.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:25AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:25AM (#52850)

        What the fuck are you smoking? Your equivocation of women making a choice to not be in I.T. positions to forcing people into slavery is batshit crazy. Get the fuck out of here.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @06:23AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @06:23AM (#52883)

          That's not the equivalence here, but I can see how it might serve a sexist to frame it that way. It lets you avoid facing the point that blaming the people who try to correct a wrong for the wrong has been standard operating procedure by those who defend inequality no matter who it involves.

          FYI: Equivocation [merriam-webster.com] does not mean what you think it means.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @02:59PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @02:59PM (#52953)

            You haven't proven that there is a wrong.